Uni-versalEXTRAS Ltd was established in 2005 by a student, for students. The company soon opened its books to 'non-students' and has since become the leading Casting Agency placing Extras across the whole of the UK and Ireland. Working on a string of award winning productions, Uni-versalEXTRAS portfolio and reputation continues to grow.
Wayne Berko founded the company with the belief that students should be able to supplement their studies working in rewarding and well-paid part time roles. Working from a university bedroom, Uni-versalEXTRAS’ first production ‘Seconds from Disaster’ was a documentary for the National Geographic Channel about the Hindenburg Disaster. By 2006, Wayne had been named one of Europe’s top entrepreneurs by ‘Business Week’ and had also become an ambassador for the government backed scheme ‘Make your Mark’, promoting entrepreneurial spirit in young people.
After its initial success, Uni-versalEXTRAS opened its books to 'non-students' in 2007 to cater to the diverse requirements of production companies. As they strove for realism in their films, Uni-versalEXTRAS began to harness not only the looks of its Extras but also their skills. People of all ages and from all backgrounds were required to deliver the first class service the agency is renowned for today.
To be closer to its clients, Uni-versalEXTRAS relocated its head office to the prestigious Pinewood Film Studios in 2009. The company has continued to grow organically, employing new staff to meet the demands of the entertainment industry. In many ways the current economic climate has made Uni-versalEXTRAS key objectives even more important: the company has a duty to find well-paid opportunities for its members.
Since establishing Uni-versalEXTRAS in 2005, Wayne’s passion for delivering on casting no matter how hard the brief has helped the company go from strength to strength. With over 15 years' experience, he has managed the casting of Supporting Artists for many of the world’s biggest films and TV shows. His knowledge of the industry is unparalleled and is relied upon by clients looking for advice on castings, budgets and logistics.
Claire has come a long way since growing up on a rural farm in Devon! Running the film society at Lancaster University made her the film buff that we know today. Claire is a warrior, remaining cool as a cucumber under the stress and pressures of everyday casting - she credits this to her love of the Fallout video game franchise.
Before joining Uni-versalEXTRAS, Jade worked as a runner and AD on independent productions in the North of England. After casting her first short film starring Stephen Graham, she now works on some of the UK’s biggest feature film productions. When she’s not hard at work in the office, you’ll find Jade eating fancy food or at a West End theatre.
In his younger years Wayne was voted one of the top 15 young entrepreneurs of Europe by Business Week.
Claire loves food so much that she created an award-winning ‘Pickled Sprouts’ preserve.
Jade once cast naked ramblers for a TV show. Whilst she denies being a member of the club, it does leave us wondering how she managed to do it!
Oliver graduated with a degree in Digital Film Production and has a passion for writing and directing short films. In his first year at Uni-versalEXTRAS he was the project assistant for a major feature film and also found a very tall lady for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! Outside of work, he supports Manchester United – our understanding is that he doesn’t really like football and it’s the only team he has heard of.
Stephanie grew up in sunny Malta, making her the most exotic member of the team! She gained experience working in the film industry as a hobby alongside her degree in Biomedical Science. Indeed it was film that won her heart over science, and after graduating she started work as a freelance casting director. Since joining Uni-versalEXTRAS she has cast numerous commercials.
Amy is a Welsh wonder from the city of Cardiff with dragons on her car number plates. After studying courses in Media Production, Script Supervision and Production Management, Amy worked for several years in the industry before joining us in 2015. In her spare time she can be found feeding her goldfish, drinking tea and walking dogs from her local shelter.
Oliver has a twin brother who studies Politics at Cambridge University.
Life is cheap for Stephanie because despite being 26, she is small enough to wear kids clothing!
A genealogist once told Amy that her surname means “Heavenly Voice” in old Welsh. She is now the voice of our answering machine.
Born at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital alongside Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and the Queen (Dame Helen Mirren), it was clear that Liana was set for stardom from an early age. Having originally qualified as a solicitor, she now manages the growing team at Uni-versalEXTRAS and has not looked back since.
Lorraine started working for Uni-versalEXTRAS in 2012 with a strong track record in roles for the film and entertainment industries. When she’s not working hard answering queries, managing profiles and assisting our various teams to guarantee we supply a smooth casting service, Lorraine enjoys swimming and making gourmet chocolates.
William joined Uni-versalEXTRAS in 2012 after gaining a Master’s degree from Keele University. He knows the company website better than anyone, having designed much of its functionality. He has also helped to run open castings across the UK. In his spare time, William is a multi-instrumentalist and also does sound design for independent film projects.
In the early 1990s Liana screamed so loudly as an audience member on Top of the Pops that she won tickets for an additional six weeks.
During her school years, Lorraine was a ball girl at Queens Tennis Club and was once knocked unconscious by an Ilie Năstase serve.
William’s uncle was a professional golfer who held the course record at Augusta.
See Will's articles in our EXTRAS Blog.
Maisie answers more phone calls in a day than most people could even imagine! She has the patience of a saint and has activated countless members since joining the Uni-versalEXTRAS team in mid 2016. Her pet hates include extras that upload selfies or photos of themselves taken in the mirror. Outside of the office, she is obsessed with makeup.
Lauren grew up in London and gained four A-levels before joining Uni-versalEXTRAS. As an esteemed member of our activation team, she has the joy of talking to our new members and dealing with their questions on a daily basis. When she’s not hard at work, Lauren also has a passion for makeup and the beauty industry.
Born and raised in Reading (Britain’s biggest town), Aidan is currently working towards a Business Administration qualification. Outside of the office he is a passionate musician with his own home studio. Aidan has a musician’s ear, so if you play him a song he’ll be able to repeat it back to you. He is also deeply fascinated by chemistry and astronomy.
Maisie loves Marilyn Monroe so much she got Marilyn’s face tattooed onto her body!
You might recognise Lauren because she used to be a model for Toys “R” Us!
Aidan now brushes shoulders with the stars… well, Will Ferrell once held a door open for him!
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